June 25, 2021

What Are CBD Carrier Oils And Why Do They Matter?

If you’ve used CBD oil before, you may have noticed that the ingredient list isn’t just 100% CBD. And if you haven’t noticed, let’s get you familiar with reading those product labels.

When you buy a CBD product — like a CBD tincture — that CBD has been placed in a carrier oil. CBD carrier oils are an essential ingredient in CBD oil, so it pays to know what’s in your products.

In this article we’ll cover:

  • What carrier oils are
  • What they’re used for
  • Why you need a carrier oil
  • The most common CBD carrier oils
  • Why your carrier oil used matters

What Are CBD Carrier Oils?

CBD carrier oils are plant- or nut-based oils that are used to help your body absorb and process CBD. Their job is to — as the name suggests — carry and deliver the CBD to the tissues in your body.

There are many types of carrier oils, and some CBD products may even use blends of multiple carrier oils. Carrier oils have relatively neutral flavors and odors, though some may be stronger than others.

CBD products aren’t the only ones that use carrier oils. If you’ve ever used essential oil-infused massage oil, you’ve used carrier oils. Essential oils are super concentrated and need a carrier oil to safely use on the skin. CBD carrier oils work in a similar way — they help dilute the pure CBD extract so you can safely and easily dose the product.

What Do CBD Carrier Oils Do?

The main job of a carrier oil is to deliver CBD to your body. There are a few reasons why carrier oils are much more effective than trying to take pure CBD.

Helps To Dose CBD

So why not just sell pure CBD? Because pure CBD is potent — meaning you don’t need a whole lot to get its effects.

Since you only need a small amount of CBD, it would be really hard to accurately dose straight-up CBD. Pure CBD (isolate) comes in a powder form. And because you need so little of it, it would be really difficult to portion out the minute quantity you want to take.

For consistent dosages, it’s much easier to measure a dropperful of CBD oil than a teeny tiny amount of pure CBD powder.

Better Absorption

CBD is fat-soluble, meaning it dissolves in oil instead of water. Since all carrier oils are fat, the CBD diffuses in it — no problem.

Mixed into the carrier oil, the CBD extract is more bioavailable. Don’t let that fancy word scare you off — bioavailability just refers to how much CBD you’re getting out of a product, and how fast the CBD enters your bloodstream. So, carrier oils facilitate the absorption of the CBD by your body’s tissues.

Longer-Lasting CBD Oils

Cannabinoids can degrade and lose their potency over time. But carrier oils can preserve the potency and freshness of your CBD by reducing the cannabinoids’ exposure to oxygen. This, in turn, can extend the shelf life of your CBD products.

After all, it stinks to spend good money on your CBD just to have to throw away a half-finished bottle of spoiled funk. Better to prevent that from happening!

Even More Health Benefits

Depending on the CBD carrier oil used, your CBD products may have additional benefits. Woohoo! Many of these oils have their own wellness perks like:

  • Supplying vitamins
  • Providing antioxidants
  • Antimicrobial qualities
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Promoting heart health
  • Supporting brain health

Common CBD Carrier Oils

Let’s dip into some common carrier oils and see what they have to offer. We’ll also lay out the pros and cons for each as a CBD carrier oil.


MCT oil (aka medium-chain triglyceride) can be derived from palm kernel oil or coconut oil. Coconut oil is a more eco-friendly option. And it's the most common choice for premium CBD oil products.

It’s no surprise why — MCT oil’s thin consistency and absorptive qualities make it ideal as a CBD carrier oil. MCT molecules are smaller than most, making them easier to absorb and process. That’s why Pure Craft is a big believer in MCT coconut oil — which is the carrier oil you’ll find used in our CBD oils.

Pros of MCT oil:

  • Ideal for high-potency CBD
  • Absorbed quickly in the body
  • Coconut oil is antimicrobial (1)
  • No unpleasant flavor
  • Less expensive than other carrier oils

Cons of MCT oil:

  • Not a lot of nutrients compared to other oils
  • Potentially more processed than other oils

Olive Oil

A fan favorite in the kitchen, but how does it fare as a carrier oil? Olive oil is rich in nutrients and antioxidants but it’s thicker than most carrier oils — not ideal for accurate dosing. It’s also high in monounsaturated fats, which takes a while to process and could reduce the amount of CBD you absorb.

Pros of olive oil:

  • Packed with vitamins and antioxidants
  • Good for heart and brain health (2, 3)
  • Light, fruity flavor

Cons of olive oil:

  • Doesn’t hold as much CBD as other carrier oils
  • Can take your body longer to process
  • Thicker consistency makes dosing harder

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is not as effective as MCT oil, but has some good benefits — like high vitamin content. (4) Avocado oil is also a very thick carrier oil, even more than olive oil. So it’s more frequently used for topical CBD applications.

Pros of avocado oil:

  • Pleasant, nutty flavor
  • Quickly absorbed
  • Particularly good for topical use

Cons of avocado oil:

  • Much thicker than most other oils
  • Much more expensive than most oils

Grape Seed Oil

Grape seed oil is a very light oil that lends itself well to CBD-infused skin products. Grape seed oil also has a lot of good-for-you plant compounds like vitamins and antioxidants. But since it lacks saturated fats, it’s not so good as a carrier oil for CBD oils and tinctures. It’s better suited for topical CBD.

Pros of grape seed oil:

  • Good for soothing dry skin
  • High in vitamin E and antioxidants (5)

Cons of grape seed oil:

  • Not ideal for ingested CBD products
  • Slower absorption than MCT oil
  • Not as commonly found

Hemp Seed Oil

Don’t let the name confuse you, hemp seed oil is not the same thing as hemp-derived CBD oil. Hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant. It has very little to no amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes. However, it does boast the anti-inflammatory properties associated with hemp-derived products. (6)

Hemp seed oil is commonly found in full-spectrum CBD products because of the potential for the entourage effect.

Pros of hemp seed oil:

  • High in antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Essential fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6
  • Might enhance the entourage effect

Cons of hemp seed oil:

  • Not as good bioavailability as other oils
  • Sharp flavor that may be unpleasant to some
  • More expensive than MCT oil

Why Your CBD Carrier Oil Matters

The point of a carrier oil is to make it easier for your body to access the CBD goodness in a CBD oil or CBD softgel. So, it’s in your best interest to opt for a product that uses a carrier oil crafted to boost the effectiveness of the CBD.

If your CBD product uses a carrier oil that makes the CBD harder for your body to absorb, you’re not getting the most bang for your CBD buck.

Pure Craft Broad-Spectrum CBD Oils Are Team MCT Oil

The ease of absorption, thin consistency, and lack of any harsh flavors makes MCT coconut oil a winner in our book. Perfect for precise dosing in CBD tinctures and optimized for max effectiveness — it’s hard to beat the quality you get with an MCT oil.

Oil’s Well That Ends Well

Carrier oils do the heavy lifting when it comes to efficiently delivering CBD to your body. Some are just more effective than others when it comes to bioavailability. So it’s important to know what carrier oils are being used in your favorite CBD products.

The most common carrier oils you’ll find are:

  • MCT oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Grape seed oil
  • Hemp seed oil

Each carrier oil has unique physical, health-promoting, and cost-related qualities to consider. We’ve found that MCT coconut oil provides great value —it’s among the top oils for enhancing CBD bioavailability and sits at a reasonable price point. That’s why you’ll find it in many Pure Craft products.

Armed with a drop or two of carrier oil knowledge, you can readily select CBD products that use the best carrier oil for your needs. Pretty slick of you!



  1. Shilling, M, et al. (2013). Antimicrobial effects of virgin coconut oil and its medium-chain fatty acids on Clostridium difficile. Journal of medicinal food. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24328700/
  2. Perona, J. S., et al. (2004). Virgin olive oil reduces blood pressure in hypertensive elderly subjects. Clinical nutrition. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15380903/
  3. Román, G.C., et al. (2019). Extra-virgin olive oil for potential prevention of Alzheimer disease. Revue Neurologique. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0035378719307283

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